We welcomed back Paul George, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Enes Kanter and Dennis Smith Jr. but another week has gone by and another wave of injuries have hit the NBA. Gordon Hayward, De’Aaron Fox, Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Caris LeVert, Kevin Huerter, and Eric Gordon headlined the injury list this week looking at an extended time off the NBA floor. Minor injuries also claimed Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart of the Pelicans, Danuel House and Clint Capela of the Rockets, Justice Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Heat, and Avery Bradley of the Lakers. The list goes on even further with load management being the theme of this season, several marquee players also take a game off during a back-to-back. So be vigilant in working your wires.
This week on Waiver Wire Wisdom we take a look at some players with improved values, whether because of the injuries mentioned above or general shifts in role for the team. Players like Bogdan Bogdanovic obviously benefited the most from the injury to De’Aaron Fox should have already been rostered in all leagues. With the slew of injuries, streaming a spot or two will go a long way in winning your matchups. So check out the by our stream expert, Rhett Bauer.
Next Man Up
Injuries are part of the game. We don’t want our teams to have any part of it but if we do, it is best to recognize who benefits when a player goes down with an injury. We have seen how opportunities brought about by suspensions to Deandre Ayton and John Collins have unlocked Top 50 values to both Aron Baynes and Jabari Parker. FIBA Bogi version of Bogdan Bogdanovic has also been lighting it up sans De’Aaron Fox.
The case hasn’t been the same for the Bucks though, with Middleton out. Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe have soaked up the Middleton usage so there’s no real pick-up there with the Bucks.
WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN – Golden State Warriors C
Strengths: FG%, Boards, Steals, Blocks (?!?!)
Availability: 53% of Yahoo Leagues
WCS is getting a ton of opportunities with Kevon Looney’s return still uncertain. He has never been a big blocks guy averaging only 0.8 bpg in his career but this past week has been getting 2.3 blocks per game and 1.3 blocks for the season. He’s always been more of a steals guy ala-Thad Young but with the Warriors being so depleted right now they need all the rim protection they can get. WCS is also averaging 8.0 points, 7.5 boards, 1.3 assists, 0.9 steals per game this season. His game is slowly coming back to form and would still get plenty of opportunities to produce.
CHRIS BOUCHER – TORONTO RAPTORS PF/C
Strengths: Steals, Blocks
Availability: 70% of Yahoo Leagues
When Serge Ibaka went down with an ankle injury, “The Waterboy” went from an afterthought to being the hottest pickup this week. He has given his owners two gems of a game versus the two LA teams shooting 58% from the field, 2 threes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks in just 23 minutes per game but followed it up with a dud. The G-League MVP, whose per-36 numbers are of historic proportions, is still going to have the occasional duds because of matchups but he will provide enough in the defensive stats to consider rostering in standard leagues.
MALIK MONK – CHARLOTTE HORNETS SG
Strengths: FG%, FT%, Points
Availability: 89% of Yahoo Leagues
Well, we all can say that Bacon is now cooked. Malik Monk is currently on a three-game scoring tear, scoring 15, 20 & 19 points respectively. Looking very poised to take over Dwayne Bacon’s minutes even when the latter comes back from injury. Monk shot 5 threes including the game-winner Friday night and also snatched 20 rebounds in those 3 games. He is shooting 60.6% from the field and 75% from the line. He may very well go cold as fast as he got hot but there’s nothing wrong with making a speculative add here.
FRANK KAMINSKY – PHOENIX SUNS PF/C
Strengths: Threes, Points, Rebounds
Availability: 88% of Yahoo Leagues
Frank makes his second appearance in our weekly Waiver Wire Wisdom column because he’s currently hot and has a 5-game week coming up. In his last two games, Frank has shot 13 of 19 from the field and 4 of 6 from the line. He also hit 5 threes, averaged 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 26.5 minutes. He should be a useful option for those teams hit by injuries. The Pacers, Grizzlies and Magic play just 2 games next week, so exchanging Kaminsky for a fringe player from those teams will be wise.
DE’ANDRE HUNTER – ATLANTA HAWKS SF
Strengths: Threes, Points, Steals (?)
Availability: 79% of Yahoo Leagues
Just when Kevin Huerter started hitting his stride, he suffered another injury. The two DeAndre’s, Hunter and Bembry, stand to benefit here but this week I prefer to discuss Hunter. The 4th pick of the draft has been playing a ton of minutes, 37.6 minutes to be exact, in three games since the Huerter injury. As they say in fantasy circles, whoever gets the minutes gets more stats. Shoutout to Tony Snell! Hunter even picked up 6 steals in his last game after racking up only four in his previous 10 games.